Women’s Righteous Examples Further Work of Salvation
By the Relief Society general board and Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
This is the first article in an ongoing series from the Relief Society to help the women in the Church discover small and simple ways to become more like the Savior as they engage in the work of salvation in their homes, in their communities, and in Church.
Melissa Stilson of the Council Bluffs Ward, Council Bluffs Iowa Stake, frequently notices her small children following her example.
Four-year-old Derek lovingly holds his baby sister in his arms while singing softly to her “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus.”
Chloe, 2, shops with her mother, following behind with her own child-sized shopping cart as she happily selects items for family dinner.
Sister Stilson said contemplating and studying the life of the Savior helps her comprehend the importance of her work as a mother. Observing how her children emulate her actions, she realizes her critical role in teaching them as she marks the path for them by following the example of the Savior in her own life.
As Latter-day Saints live the gospel of Jesus Christ, they grow line upon line, becoming more like the Savior in loving and serving others. Like Sister Stilson, their example to their families and others is very important.
In a quest to become more like the Savior, Latter-day Saint women should ask themselves:
• What does discipleship look like?
• How can I become more like the Savior Jesus Christ?
• How does my example help others become disciples of Jesus Christ?
• How does Relief Society help sisters participate in following the example of Jesus Christ and become better disciples?
• Am I setting an example of discipleship in my home? If not, what must I change to do so?
Sister Emmeline B. Wells, the Church’s fifth Relief Society general president, urged sisters to put charity into action, just as the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught more than 70 years earlier. She encouraged them to be patient with loved ones and kind toward neighbors—including enemies—and to give service to those in need. “Relief Society sisters followed this counsel. They sought to receive and share the pure love of Christ, which they knew would never fail them. This love would sustain them through seasons of war and peace” (Daughters In My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society , 64–65).
Another example of modern discipleship is Sister Susan R. Bednar, the wife of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Elder Bednar said that before attending her sacrament meetings, Sister Bednar frequently prays for the spiritual eyes to see those who have a need. “Often as she observes the brothers and sisters and children in the congregation, she will feel a spiritual nudge to visit with or make a phone call to a particular person,” Elder Bednar said in a devotional address at BYU. “And when Sister Bednar receives such an impression, she promptly responds and obeys. It often is the case that as soon as the ‘amen’ is spoken in the benediction, she will talk with a teenager or hug a sister or, upon returning home, immediately pick up the phone and make a call. As long as I have known Sister Bednar, people have marveled at her capacity to discern and respond to their needs. Often they will ask her, ‘How did you know?’ The spiritual gift of being quick to observe has enabled her to see and to act promptly and has been a great blessing in the lives of many people” (“Quick to Observe,” Ensign, Dec. 2006, 33).
Follow Christ by Serving Individually
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness” (in Daughters in My Kingdom, 23).
“One of the greatest evidences we have that our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is the Lord’s chosen servant is that he has learned to follow the Savior’s example—serving individually, one by one. Those of us who have entered the waters of baptism have covenanted to do the same. We have covenanted to ‘always remember [the Savior] and keep his commandments’ [D&C 20:77], and He has said, ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you’ [John 15:12]. …
“… With practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God’s children. To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: ‘First observe, then serve’” (Linda K. Burton, “First Observe, Then Serve,” Oct. 2012 general conference).
“There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman. … All women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother” (M. Russell Ballard, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 156).